Some discover their purpose of contributing to human existence by accident, others are victims of circumstances which changes their views on the important issues. Ovo as he is popularly called by friends discovered his passion for advocacy through an inner yearning, and search for satisfaction. In this interview with Femi Tunde Okunlola, he discusses his journey and getting it right through community development. He continues to channel this passion by getting involved, and encourages others to do the same.
Tell us about yourself and what you do?
My name is Emokinovo (Ovo) Otarigho Mokinovo; a Nigerian and a Partnership Strategist. I’m the President of Impact Driven Young Leaders Initiative, (IDYL Initiative); an organization in Nigeria committed to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Partnership. I mobilize young people within my community to address social issues like Health, Sanitation and Climate (Free Medical Outreaches, Sanitation, Climate Change Awareness)
I am also an advocate for social justice and have carried out an investigative report for CNNiReport on Almajiri practice in Nigeria. I’m a strong supporter of Youth Leadership and an advocate of Youths in Civic Engagements, and I also organized Leadership Summit for youths (reaching over 5, 000 Youths). I was one of the 36 persons selected by the Federal Government through Linus Okorie ‘s GOTNI to speak to NYSC members nationwide on Leadership and Entrepreneurship in January 2017.
I am a member of the Amnesty International, a volunteer for the Red Cross, Federal Road Safety corp and the Vice President of Catholic Youths Organization, Maitama, Abuja., and a YALI West Africa RLC Fellow.
– How did you get into the partnership terrain and what prompted you to take action?
I got into this out of passion. I started my paid job early, even before I went for my NYSC but I realized that the job and money alone did not provide me the needed satisfaction. What gives me satisfaction instead were the community social works that I do. I got into this out of passion. Part of what inspired my active civic engagements was an insight into the level of decay and neglect of basic social amenities in our communities. I figured that although the government hasn’t quite lived up to expectation yet, our fellow citizens are not up to speed with their patriotism either. One of my motives in social impact project was to encourage people to rise and collectively work to cleanse social inequalities and injustice. The focus of this was to ensure that we take care of the few amenities in order to have a voice in demanding from government adequate facilities. I realize that it is easier to hold the government accountable through this.
– What was that “Aha” moment that got you committed and stuck to this?
What got me stuck to what I do was the feedback I started getting from some very important people on account of my social works. My mother would come back from church and say “I was singled out in church today as a good example of mothers who encourage their children to impact on the society”. Also, at that time, I was getting calls from friends or relatives who until then, hadn’t called me in 10 years, just because they watched my report on CNN. This gave me a lot of fulfillment, and still makes me committed.
– What would you say is the best thing about what you do?
The best thing about what I do is my ability to find solutions to basic problems in my community. In doing this, I carry out these action with great happiness, compassion and fulfillment. During one of my outreaches to the IDP camp, we encountered a child who was terribly ill, he barely could walk or sit. When he sat, his mouth was open, gasping for breath, then our volunteer doctors spotted him from the crowd and attended to him. It was so amazing that at the time we were leaving the IDP camp in Durunmi-Abuja, the boy was in a stable condition. While driving back home, the picture of the boy’s ordeal kept resurfacing in my mind and I asked myself, if we hadn’t provided free medicals on that day, at that time, Nigeria may have lost a young soul who might have the capacity to change Nigeria tomorrow.
I am currently working on a Campaign Against Sexual Harassment. It is tagged “AASH Campaign”. (Action Against Sexual Harassment). I see sexual harassment as major problem in our institutions, from Universities, Hospitals and many workplaces. Young ladies and men are victims of this perverse action. Using the AASHCampaign I am finding a solution to a social problem, this I am carrying out in collaboration with many talented young YALI members. We want to see victims speak up to expose the perpetrators of this crime, we want the public to say No to sexual harassment and we want the Government and institutions to take action against sexual harassment. So I will emphasis that the best thing about what I do is finding solutions to problems in the society.
- What Impacts have you had on your community?
So far, I have impacted in the society by helping vulnerable communities improve their level of hygiene, health and Sanitation. The IDYL Initiative just concluded our take 2017 take off Programme for the World Malaria Day. The build of this event involved:
- End to Malaria Advocacy programs in communities using the locals
- End to malaria advocacy using the media (radio)
- Free Medical support for malaria patients in Mpape, Abuja. (Diagnostic, Free Drugs and Medical Counseling)
The impact of this project is huge as we directly provided support to about 200 sick people and educated thousands of others on Malaria prevention through the Radio programs. In this event, IDYL Initiative partnered with Panacea Health and Wellness Foundation, NAFDAC interns Association, Duccit Blue Solutions, YALI Abuja and Abuja Inter Faith Youth Network.
In 2016 alone, I had programs in 3 different vulnerable communities within Abuja, (Gishiri, Durunmi and Mpape) reaching over 3,000 people on health and hygiene outreaches where we provided free medical consultation, free drugs, Genotype screening and Hepatitis B screening and vaccination. Part of the success of these outreaches is tied to Partnership with other organization like, CYON, Sickle Cell Foundation, Volunteer Doctors from Save the Children and Ace Charity.
In Leadership development, I have directly impacted more than 5,000 young people as I continuously motivate, inspire and challenge young people to be the best they can be. Yearly, I organize Youth Summit to commemorate the UN International Youth day in Abuja using different Youth networks. In August 2016, I organized a Youth Summit tagged “Youth and Sustainability in Nation Building”, where the Country Rep of UN Women was represented, by Hon. Tony Nwulu (Member of House of Representative and sponsor of NotTooYoungToRun Bill), representatives from Education USA and other great speakers. Bella Ann of the US Embassy anchored the event. The focus of the Summit was to promote sustainable leadership for the youths through ethics and high moral standard.
In the second and third week of January 2017, as an executive member of Linus Okorie’s “Guardians of The Nations International”, I organized a Leadership walk (Walk for Leadership) and Leadership Summit (Leadership at the Cinema). More than 1,000 youths were in attendance. Dr. Linus Okorie and GOTNI believed that if people stage walks for other reasons, why couldn’t a Walk for Leadership Development be arranged? The Walk for Leadership was a huge success, the first of its kind in Abuja. As for the Leadership at the Cinema, we identified entertainment as a major form of distraction to young people. So we decided to harness this distraction to get the target audience. Instead of using conventional venues for the Leadership Summit, we chose the Movie Theater. The result was amazing!
– How are you getting more people on board?
For every program I carry out, I intentionally would want to collaborate with other people in other to get more people on board social impact projects. This may have worked efficiently for me because of my skills as a Partnership Strategist. In January 2017, the Federal Government through the Guardians of The Nations International (GOTNI) choose me as one of the young people to inspire the Youth Call members across the 36 states, where I was assigned to Kogi State. On that trip, I intentionally got two other young people to accompany me, to experience the moment and build their public speaking skills. We made contacts with over 2, 000 NYSC members in that event and I gave opportunities to the two young men I took along to share their experiences with the NYSC members at the end of the event.
– What are some of the challenges faced?
One of the major challenges is getting people and organizations to support Social Impact projects. Most times I spend personal funds in developing programs that benefit the public. Another challenge is the perception of some people that for you to carry out a voluntary Social Impact project, there must be some financial benefits your are getting that you are not telling others. I have experienced this severally and I now see it as a part of the “cross” of community service and Nation Building.
– So where do you see your organization/ sector in the next five years? What do you hope to have achieved?
I see IDYL Initiative as a UN endorsed organization in the next five years. What that means is that, IDYL Initiative will become a body of authority in SDG implementation. As a social impact organization, it will be easier for us to engage the government and institutions on accountability, transparency in attempt to address issues of Hunger, Poverty, Health, Environment and other areas the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stand for.
– How can interested people get involved?
People can get involved through partnerships and collaborations. Impact Driven Young Leaders initiative (IDYL Initiative) continuously seek partnership, collaboration and volunteering from young passionate Nigerians who wants to make a difference.
Volunteers and partners who wants to get on board can reach us on the following platforms:
- idylinitiave.org( fill the contact ud form and Send us a message)
- Follow us on twitter:
- @IDYLNig (Follow us on Twitter)
Tweet your comments on sexual harassment using the following hashtags